You may have heard the term dyslexic or dyslexia, or you may not know exactly what it means…
I’m going to jump in and give you the definition of what that means and how it affects me on a daily basis.
Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing, and spelling. It doesn’t affect intelligence, but it does mean people have different learning styles and ways they actually pick stuff up. It can also be called a hidden disability, and you might have heard this term being used and you might wonder what hidden disability is. It’s pretty much as it sounds. It’s invisible, or hidden disability, which isn’t immediately apparent. The term can also be used for conditions like fibromyalgia and depression, things like that. You might not be able to visibly see it, but it’s there and you may not be able to understand it straight away.
How does it affect me as a freelancer?
Something that I find very difficult is writing. Something I do is I like using these live streams to communicate with you guys and people that I want to speak to and get my point across, but trying to write things… oh seriously, it’s really, really hard to do. When I have ideas in my head, trying to get them out of my head in a coherent and understandable manner is really, really hard. I get a total block. Being a freelancer, that’s something you’ve got to do. You’ve got to be able to communicate your ideas and your business effectively to other people. Being dyslexic for me basically means that trying to communicate in a written format is extremely difficult, and it does impede my ability to communicate. You may have noticed that the way this is written is conversational as it’s a direct transcribe of my videos.
For me, another thing that it does is trying to verbalise words, I have something in my head I want to say, is really hard to get across, so I sound words out. This affects me mainly when I’m tired or I’ve had a very stressful day and I can’t put a sentence together. I try to say a word and it’s not the word I want to say, or very commonly I will say a sentence and I will reverse the keywords in it. Let’s say the dog has a ball, I would say the ball has a dog.
You can imagine that’s going to be embarrassing in the middle of a client meeting mixing my words up…
The tools that I use to overcome these problems
There’s a fantastic website called Rev, they transcribe video into text and also create captions for videos. With these videos what I will do is I will put it into Rev, it will translate and transcribe it into a text-based format, and then I can use that text to create blogs and anything else that I’ve said. It’s so brilliant. I love it to pieces. It’s really cost effective. It’s $1.00 per minute, and it’s absolutely fantastic. It saves me so much time and effort where if I’m trying to write a blog and I can’t get those words out of my head, if I record a video and I get it transcribed by Rev, then boom, I’ve got content straight away, which is really good.
Another one I use very frequently because of my spelling, as my dyslexia affects my spelling and my words and my grammar, I use a thing called Grammarly It’s a fantastic tool where it’s an add-on to Chrome or Firefox. It will instantly detect any misspelt words and any grammar issues. I can just right click and have the word I need spelling correctly.
Dyslexia is part of who I am
if I think about my dyslexia, it’s something that I live with. It’s something that I don’t let get in the way of my life. It actually makes me a little bit more unique because the way that my brain is being dyslexic it thinks differently. It solves problems differently. I’m not so analytical. I think things very creatively. Being a photographer it helps with my creativity, the way that I approach things differently. I am a dyslexic freelancer, and I’m proud that I think differently and I’m incredibly creative.
Let me know your thoughts
Are you dyslexic? Do you deal with a hidden disability? I’d love to know, and I’d love to know how you deal with it in your working lives. Are there any tips or tricks, or any tools that you might use. Let me know on Twitter or Instagram or leave me a comment below.
Jemima Willcox is a personal brand portrait photographer based in Cambridge, UK.